Title: Godmersham Park: A Novel of the Austen Family
Author: Gill Hornby
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical Historical Fiction, Austenesque
Publisher: Pegasus Books (November 1, 2022)
Length: 416 pages
Format: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook
A richly imagined novel inspired by the true story of Anne Sharp, a
governess who became very close with Jane Austen and her family by the #1
International bestselling-author of Miss Austen.
On January 21, 1804, Anne Sharpe arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent to take up the
position of governess. At thirty-one years old, she has no previous experience of either
teaching or fine country houses. Her mother has died, and she has nowhere else to go.
Anne is left with no choice. For her new charge—twelve-year-old Fanny
Austen—Anne’s arrival is all novelty and excitement.
The governess role is a uniquely awkward one. Anne is neither one of the servants, nor
one of the family, and to balance a position between the “upstairs” and “downstairs” members of the household is a diplomatic chess game. One wrong move
may result in instant dismissal. Anne knows that she must never let down her guard.
When Mr. Edward Austen’s family comes to stay, Anne forms an immediate attachment
to Jane. They write plays together and enjoy long discussions. However, in the process,
Anne reveals herself as not merely pretty, charming, and competent; she is clever too.
Even her sleepy, complacent, mistress can hardly fail to notice.
Meanwhile Jane’s brother, Henry, begins to take an unusually strong interest in the
lovely young governess. And from now on, Anne’s days at Godmersham Park are
“This is a deeply imagined and deeply moving novel. Reading it made me happy and weepy in equally copious amounts…I read it straight through without looking up.”— Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Bookclub
Hornby’s skillful mix of fact and fiction captures the complexities of the Austens and their era, and her crisp, nimble prose sparkles throughout. Best of all, Hornby genuinely channels the sentiment of 19th-century English literature. Janeites aren’t the only readers who will relish this smart, tender tale.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review “…a well-written and delightfully observant novel…an excellent read.”— The Historical Novel Society
Gill Hornby is the author of the novels Miss Austen, The Hive, and All Together Now,
as well as The Story of Jane Austen, a biography of Austen for young readers. She lives
in Kintbury, England, with her husband and their four children.